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Posted on Feb 20, 2013 6:41:03 AM PST
Sixties fan says:
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Does the world really care about the Palestinians?

Just two months ago, 138 countries voted in favor of Palestinian statehood at the UN, but they have not adopted a resolution condemning the brutal slaughter of Palestinians by Syria. Imagine if Israel were responsible for what is happening to the Palestinians. The UN would have acted immediately and all the groups mentioned above would be in an uproar.

Dr. Mitchell Bard..
Times of Israel..
19 February '13..

For decades there has been an international drumbeat of concern for the Palestinians, their victimhood, their welfare and their human rights. But how much does the world really care about the Palestinians? We are learning now they don't care at all as Assad slaughters them in Syria.

Where are the front-page headlines? Where are the UN condemnations? Where is the U.S. State Department? Where are the sponsors of flotillas to bring aid to the refugees? Where are the campus protests? Where are the Christian organizations? Where are the peace groups? Where are the pro-Palestinian organizations?

The answer is they are all silent.

Just two months ago, 138 countries voted in favor of Palestinian statehood at the UN, but they have not adopted a resolution condemning the brutal slaughter of Palestinians by Syria. Imagine if Israel were responsible for what is happening to the Palestinians. The UN would have acted immediately and all the groups mentioned above would be in an uproar.

How do we explain the difference?

The answer lies in a simple but inconvenient truth - no one really cares about the Palestinians - unless Jews are involved.

This is not new; you can go back to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. The popular misconception is that the Arab states invaded to help the Palestinians. Actually, they intended to carve up Palestine for themselves, not to create a Palestinian state.

From 1949 until 1967, Egypt could have given Gaza to the Palestinians for a state, just as the Jordanians could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Neither did, but no one in the world cared because the Palestinians were not interested in a state and the occupiers were Arabs.

The lack of concern for the Palestinians was also evident after the 1967 War when the UN adopted Resolution 242, which has been the basis for all peace negotiations, yet does not mention the Palestinians.

When the PLO tried to overthrow Jordan's King Hussein in 1970, the world did not show concern for the thousands of Palestinians who were killed by the king's forces. The exact figure is unknown, but the number may be greater than the total for all of the conflicts with Israel put together.

Yet another example of the disinterest toward the Palestinians occurred when Kuwait expelled 300,000 Palestinians for supporting Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. This made no headlines and generated no UN resolutions.

The world was only concerned with the killing of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon because Jews were in the vicinity. The murderers were Lebanese Christians; nevertheless, it was Israel that was blamed.

After more than 700 Palestinians have been killed in Syria, survivors are fleeing the country. Have you heard any concern for them or for how the Palestinian refugees have been treated for decades in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan?

Israel offered to allow some of the refugees from Syria to go the West Bank, but Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the idea.

Of course the Palestinians have controlled all the refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for almost 20 years and done nothing to move the people into permanent housing and close the camps. They prefer to keep the camps as breeding grounds for terrorists and as examples of victimhood.

The Arab states are full of bluster on the Palestinian issue, but, besides rhetoric, the Arab states provide only token amounts of money so they can say they are contributing to the cause. They have repeatedly pledged aid to the PA, but not made the payments. And, given the wealth of the Gulf states, the amount of these pledges is embarrassing. On January 14, 2013, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said his government might not meet its obligations to its people because of the failure of Arab League members to deliver the $100 million they promised.

Another inconvenient truth is that the world is indifferent to Arabs slaughtering Arabs. We continue to see this in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other Arab countries. The usual explanation is essentially a racist one; that is, Arabs are expected to behave in this way whereas Jews are held to a higher standard and that is why their involvement merits worldwide attention.

The irony is that the people who care the most for the Palestinians are probably American and Israeli Jews. In the United States, Jews are among the most vociferous supporters of the Palestinians. The Jewish establishment organizations are also pro-Palestinian, advocating a two-state solution that would give Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza the same freedoms Israelis enjoy, but are currently denied to them by their own leaders. In Israel, many Jews advocate for the Palestinians: Israelis represent them in the courts, join them in protests and speak out on their behalf in the press and the Knesset. The many Arab-Jewish coexistence projects are nearly always initiated by Israeli Jews.

With the slaughter in Syria, Palestinians can see who their real friends are, and most are not the ones they expect.


Dr Mitchell Bard is the Executive Director of the nonprofit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) and a foreign policy analyst who lectures frequently on U. S.-Middle East policy. Dr. Bard is also the director of the Jewish Virtual Library, the world's most comprehensive online encyclopedia of Jewish history and culture.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 6:53:17 AM PST
Sixties fan says:

Op-Ed: Attack Israel or Defend Christians? It's a No Brainer

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:30 AM

It's no problem for Christianity's other half to live with this self-damaging and contradictory situation.

Steve Apfel, South Africa
The writer is director of the School of Management Accounting, in Johannesburg and is the author of, 'Hadrian's Echo: The whys and wherefores of Israel's critics.' SBPRA 2012, and a contributor to a new book: "War by other means: Israel and its detractors." Israel Affairs, 2012
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You'd never think it, hearing a church leader declare that Christianity today is the most persecuted religion of all; but for bodies like the World Council of Churches and men of the cloth like Reverend Stephen Sizer or Desmond Tutu it's a no-brainer: attack Israel.

At a time when their `brothers in Christ' pay the ultimate price for attending church in Nigeria, for selling Christian books in Gaza, for risking life and limb to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan - even as believers in Christ die for their faith, churchmen aim their missiles where? at uninvolved Israel, at the Mid-East's one Christian safe country.

Why would not the Church, en bloc, campaign for Israel? That's a lot more than a no-brainer.

For a start there's the `Philistine factor.' When Isaac prospered incredibly in Canaan, the resident Philistines looked askance. `The dung of Isaac's donkeys is worth more than all of the king's gold and silver!' they moaned. So they stopped up Abraham's old wells - the same wells Philistine livelihood depended on - and told Isaac and family to leave.

Cutting off their nose to spite their face, Israel-boycotting Christians are today's Philistines. `You may be good to our religion, but Palestine is not for Jews. Leave!'

Another factor would be self-preservation. In the "West Bank" and Gaza Christians run the gauntlet; so much so that 70 percent who once lived in the "West Bank" [the part that is now the Palestinian Authority, ed.] now live abroad.

Bethlehem, Christianity's cradle, offers a bleak example. In 1950 and later, while under Israeli rule, the city was 80 - 90 percent Christian; today that fraction is down to no more than 20 percent.

Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled. Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In 2010 Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza's only Christian bookstore, was murdered and his books incinerated.

Who knows the totality of fear, cruelty, theft, assault, homicide perpetrated on reclusive Christian pockets? Who cares to know? When Muslim-Christian strife rocks another country, it's all over the media, but from the interfaith tinderbox of Palestine, a land bristling with correspondents and churchmen, we hear nothing.

What accounts for the silence? Resident clerics fall back on `love thy neighbour' and hold out a hand to Muslim persecutors. At the same time, they cosy up by looking for ways to condemn Israel, a tactic that failed even well-connected clerics.

There was the Greek Orthodox priest, a one time ally of Yasser Arafat, who ran a Christian TV station from Bethlehem. Eventually he got fed up with what was happening, and went public with a dossier he had delivered to Arafat, and later Mahmoud Abbas. In it he gave 70 detailed cases of attacks on Christians: beatings, sexual harassment, and scores of land theft cases. After going public he fled abroad.

A third difficulty for anti-Israel Christians would be the competing, and overriding, pull of the new religion: Human Rights. With equal fervour they kneel for Jesus and for human rights. Some worship the subsidiary god of liberation theology, lending the perception that the conflict is a struggle between oppressed Palestinians and oppressing Zionists.

Long before Israel became a state, the very idea of a Jewish return to the Holy Land provoked strong feelings in Protestant leaders. In the last century, American missionaries developed close ties with Arab Christian and Muslim communities, embracing the pro-Arab, anti-Zionist narrative. Similar ecumenical ties with Jewish communities would have allowed for a more balanced perspective of the conflict.

In "human rights", men of the cloth invest all the trappings, all the passion, of a faith - often more than they invest in Christian identity. And they mix the two freely. The BDS movement is full of such people. Figureheads like Desmond Tutu and bodies like the WCC and SABEEL crucify Israel, literally, at times.

Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest, likes to hark back to the Passion: `It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. Israel's crucifixion system is operating daily.'

Apartheid is Tutu's altar for the sacrifice. `Israel does things that even Apartheid South Africa had not done.'

The Presbyterian Church of America, helping Tutu's claim go down, alludes to what those things might be, though what they actually are remains up its sleeve. Israel commits `horrific acts of violence and deadly attacks on innocent people.'

If you want the Presbyterians to be specific you are there and then booked as a rabid Zionist. And don't tackle BDS Christians on their plan to obliterate Israel by flooding it with refugees. Christian Aid, for one, `insists on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.'

Where subterfuge treads, paradox follows hard on its heels. Who are these refugees but Arabs from countries where Christians are fair game? And even as the Catholic's Middle East footprint is being wiped out, the Pope utters hardly a peep.

These, are they not, glaring ambivalences? Christianity under the whip, yet rank and file - along with figurehead clerics - clamber to support Christian persecutors and boycott Christian-friendly Israel. Can men of the cloth, even pooling their faith, justify the perversity? Can they square the circle of anti-Israel activism mixed with indifference to Christendom's plight hard on Israel's borders?

Yes they can - through another faith: replacement theology. Attend to Greek Orthodox Helen Thomas, even with her lost status. Before being fired, the White House Press Corps member of 57 years told the Jews `to get the hell out of Palestine. (The Palestinian people) are occupied, and it's their land; Israelis should go home - to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere.'

What is this but admonishment of the unchosen people for disregarding the Lord's decree? Thinks Helen Thomas while haranguing the Jews: You were exiled by God from the land He gave you. Go back to where you came from, to the broken nation the Lord meant you to be: a wandering witness people, living in misery, daily demonstrating the truth of the New Testament you rejected. God meant for you to be permanently exiled, so get the hell out!

It was Augustine in the fourth century who made the exile of the Jews a matter of theological proof. Long after him, Pope Pious X, while giving an audience to Theodore Herzl in 1904, reiterated Augustine's dogma:

`The Jews, who should have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day. And so if you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we will be ready with churches and priests to baptize all of you.'

A Jesuit journal at the time explained that the Jewish people `must always live dispersed and vagrant among the other nations so that they may render witness to Christ by their very existence.' So, the Vatican's refusal to recognize the new Israel in 1948 was not a matter of pro-Arab bias, but a matter of dogma.

The likes of Sabeel and EAPPI, the WCC and Presbyterians, the Orthodox Church, Tutu and Sizer on their pedestals, think in Helen Thomas' words. Get the hell out; return to being the witness wanderers the Lord meant you to be.

Thus goaded to action, men of the cloth attack Israel, leaving Christianity to expire on the doorstep.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 6:58:21 AM PST
Sixties fan says:

Op-Ed: Lessons for Europe

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:54 AM

Interview with Bart Wallet, historian specializing in post-war Dutch Jewry: " 2002, a new Dutch nationalism surfaced. Pressure upon all religious communities increased."

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
The writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

"If one analyzes developments in post-war Dutch Jewry, one can understand much about the history of other European Jewish communities during that period. While some of this history's aspects are specifically Dutch, others also reflect realities elsewhere in Western Europe."

Bart Wallet is a non-Jewish historian at the University of Amsterdam specializing in the post-war history of Dutch Jewry. Together with others, he has written the book `Shehecheyanu' which describes the post-war history of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Amsterdam.

Wallet says: "More than 100,000 of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands at the beginning of the German occupation in 1940 were murdered. When after the war the Dutch Jewish community re-established itself, this tragic reality greatly influenced it.

"Greater centralization than before the war became necessary. Many Jewish communities could no longer provide services for an integral Jewish life. Therefore, the NIK, the roof organization of Ashkenazi Jewry for example, established a central education commission to enable Jewish children in small towns to receive a Jewish education.

"A second development was that the community became more inclusive. Before the war, those who couldn't pay membership did not have full rights. The same was true for foreign Jews without Dutch passports. This changed. In various Jewish communities, women were granted the right to vote.

"This greater accent on inclusiveness was also linked to the strengthening of Zionism among Dutch Jews. The Zionists said that whoever had been persecuted as a Jew during the Shoah had to be able to find a place in the Jewish community. The emphasis shifted to the national ethnic definition of Jewish identity from the pre-war religious one.

"The initial post-war increase in the percentage of organized Jewry resulted from the fact that many Jews were left with little or no family. They wanted contact with other Jews. Others wanted to be buried as Jews. At the same time, many Jews did not want to participate in Jewish matters in any way. Some were baptized, while hundreds of others changed their Jewish-sounding surnames.

"Surprisingly enough, some of them returned to Jewish life many years later. The 1967 Six-Day War of Israel triggered those feelings for some, who now identified with Israel. After the war, 500 Jewish children whose parents had been murdered were handed over by the authorities to non-Jewish foster parents who had hidden them during the war. Many of them were raised as Christians. The Jewish community considered them as `lost' regarding Judaism. As adults however, many of them searched for their Jewish roots and identity. Some leading figures in Dutch Jewry even emerged from this group.

"The international Jewish influence on Dutch Jewry also increased, albeit slowly. Initially, this was mainly the case with Israel which sent youth leaders to the Netherlands. Developments in the United States also had an influence. This expressed itself in diverse directions, such as the growth of Liberal communities, as well as the rise of the Chassidic Chabad Movement."

Wallet remarks: "Any division of history into periods is a construct by historians, yet it is helpful for understanding the past better. The period from 1945 till 1955-1960 was that of re-establishment of the Jewish infrastructure and its adaptation to the new circumstances. During these years, there were tensions between the Jewish community, Dutch authorities and society in general. This was partly caused by the fact that the authorities ignored the specific needs of the decimated Jewish community.

"The period of 1955 until 1967 was characterized by more stability. Amsterdam, where about half of Dutch Jewry lived, increasingly built up its Jewish infrastructure. Other communities declined in number. From 1967 until 1990, the Shoah became the central iconic story of the Second World War in the Netherlands. The Jewish community turned into a kind of moral conscience for Dutch society in which it acquired an important role.

"At the same time, internal polarization increased. A group of ultra- Orthodox Jews emerged in Amsterdam. On the progressive side, there were calls for more democratization, women's rights and emancipation of homosexuals. These general themes in Dutch society were also prominent among Jews. The liberal Jewish community adopted them, which led to tensions with the nominally Orthodox Ashkenazi community.

"There was also polarization concerning Israel. Small groups which were critical of Israel promoted the Palestinian narrative. More importantly, the major non-Western immigration -- mainly of Muslims -- led to a Dutch worldview that the Netherlands should be seen as a multi-cultural society. The integrated Jewish community was now also viewed as a cultural minority.

"At the end of the last century, the renewed Holocaust restitution debate received much attention in the Dutch media. After the murder of populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, a new Dutch nationalism surfaced. Pressure upon all religious communities increased. Recently for the Jews, this has meant continuing attacks on their kosher slaughter and circumcision rites."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 11:52:40 AM PST
Lientje says:
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Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:03:15 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013Newest pseudo-academic anti-Israel buzzword: "Spacio-cide"
If you need an example of how anti-Israel academics use the veneer of scholarship to target Israel, here's a good one by Sari Hanafi at the American University of Beirut:

This article argues that the Israeli colonial project is `spacio-cidal' (as opposed to genocidal) in that it targets land for the purpose of rendering inevitable the `voluntary' transfer of the Palestinian population primarily by targeting the space upon which the Palestinian people live. The spacio-cide is a deliberate ideology with unified rational, albeit dynamic process because it is in constant interaction with the emerging context and the actions of the Palestinian resistance. By describing and questioning different aspects of the military-judicial-civil apparatuses, this article examines how the realization of the spacio-cidal project becomes possible through a regime that deploys three principles, namely: the principle of colonization, the principle of separation, and the state of exception that mediates between these two seemingly contradictory principles.
In summary, Israel is evil, and therefore we must find a way to define everything it does as inherently evil and then explain it afterwards. The author has to admit that Israel isn't engaging in genocide - even academics can only stretch the truth so much - so he has to come up with a new, similarly-evil sounding construct.

But there is one simple way to prove that there is nothing academic about this paper, even without reading it. A real academic would choose an appropriate Latin root word to coin a new word. In this case, -cide means "killer" or "act of killing."

Can space be killed? Is Israel killing anyone even if it was wantonly confiscating land from Arabs?

By coining the word spacio-cide, Hanafi proves that he just wants to create anti-Israel propaganda by evoking the idea of Israel being a murderous regime.

The irony of course is that Palestinian Arabs living in Lebanon suffer from the inability to build anything outside of their hugely crowded camps that they are forced to live in, and now tens of thousands of Syrian Palestinians are being forced into those same camps rather than with the other Syrian refugees. But an Arab academic criticizing an Arab country is unlikely to advance very far in his career. Creating a ridiculous anti-Israel word (much like "pinkwashing" or "homonationalism") is apparently the newest trend among pseudo-academics.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:07:47 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Wednesday, February 20, 201320-Feb-13: In Cyprus terrorism prosecution, the accused admits he's part of Hezbollah

We reported the arrest in July 2012 here
Benjamin Weinthal, writing in the Jerusalem Post, posted an exclusive report a short time ago about an admission made by a suspected terrorist in a Cyprus criminal trial.

The background is in an earlier post of ours, "14-Jul-12: Terror attack in Cyprus foiled; the targets seem to have been Israelis". Here's an extract:

Today (Saturday) in Cyprus, the local police revealed that they arrested a Lebanese holding a Swedish passport some days ago. [But let's note that in Lebanon, they are saying tonight that the suspect's second passport was Saudi, not Swedish.] This Swedish/Saudi Lebanese is a 24 year old man. The police in Cyprus say he had been tracking Israeli tourists on the island, and was evidently planning attack on buses according to a local news source quoted by the Jerusalem Post. No charges have been formally laid yet in this unfolding story, but in the words of the Cypriot police: "We can confirm the arrest of a 24-year-old foreign national for specific, serious offenses, and who is in custody by order of the court." On the other hand, "It is not clear what, or whether there was a target in Cyprus. That is under investigation," a senior government official told Reuters. AFP is more forthright, quoting a police source who said he could not deny or confirm the reports because it was a "sensitive political issue"... It did however say, basing itself on a Cypriot newspaper, Phileleftheros, that the terrorists were aiming at either buses or aircraft and that "notes with details of Israeli aircraft were found" in the possession of the arrested man.
This evening's Jerusalem Post report says:

Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a 24-year old Lebanese-Swedish dual citizen, admitted on Wednesday in a courtroom that he is a member of Hezbollah, according to a statement he gave under oath. The Cypriot authorities accuse Yaacoub of plotting an attack against Israeli tourists on the island in July. Yaacoub faces eight charges in the criminal court in the city of Limassol. He is charged with membership in a criminal organization and conspiracy in "carrying out missions in any part of the world, including the Cyprus Republic, against Israeli citizens," among other charges... [more]
The New York Times has also just picked up on the breaking event: "In Cyprus Trial, Man Says He Scouted Israeli Targets in Europe for Hezbollah", and the creative approach being taken by his defence:

He was arrested in July with the license plates of buses ferrying Israelis written in a small red notebook. He said that he wrote them down because one of the license numbers, LAA-505, reminded him of a Lamborghini sports car, while the other, KWK-663, reminded him of a Kawasaki motorcycle... [NYT]
It's encouraging to know this criminal prosecution is moving forward well. But Cyprus has what we think is some unfortunate history when it comes to Palestinian Arab terrorists. Nearly 25 years ago, it was the scene of another major terror attack on an Israeli target (we we wrote this last summer, here). Several innocent people were killed:

That was when a car bomb attack was mounted against the Israeli embassy in the capital, Nicosia, in May 1988 [report here]. The driver of a Mitsubishi sedan, loaded with 300 pounds of dynamite, tried to park outside the four-story Israeli embassy building but was told by guards he had to move on. Asked to identify himself, he instead drove off rapidly and crashed into another car some 200 meters away, and the car exploded seconds later, killing the driver (named as Kaddour Gaonajan, 24) and two innocent Cypriots; seventeen others were injured. The vehicle's owner was Omar Ahmad Hawillo, also described then as a Lebanese. He escaped from the vehicle just before it exploded and was soon arrested. Convicted later that year, he confessed to being a member of the Palestinian Arab Abu Nidal terrorist group [source] that had carried out the September 1986 terrorist attack on the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey, that killed twenty-two. He was sentenced by a Cypriot court to fifteen years in prison, but served only eight years after a series of presidential pardons [see this 1996 Cypriot news report].
Some would say Israelis need to pause for a moment before criticizing the presidential pardon of terrorists (here's why we say that). We certainly think such pardons are a colossal mistake and have said so over and again. We are hoping that this time round, assuming he is convicted, the punishment meted out by the Cypriot justice system to the Hezbollah man gets delivered in full. Dealing rationally, publicly, firmly and with courage is its own reward when it's terrorists with whom you're dealing.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:16:45 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Hungarian Jewish Group Urges Ban on Hitler-Ally Street Names

Hungarian Jewish organization calls for ban on naming of public areas after country's wartime leader and ally of Adolf Hitler.

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By Arutz Sheva stafff
First Publish: 2/20/2013, 6:29 PM

wall bearing the names of victims at Budapest's Holocaust Memorial Center


Hungary's main Jewish organization called Wednesday for a ban on the naming of public spaces after the country's wartime leader Miklos Horthy, an ally of Adolf Hitler who oversaw the deportation of Jews, AFP reported.

The call by the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) followed the decision on Tuesday by the mayor of Kunhegyes, a small town in eastern Hungary, to rename a street after Horthy.

An autocrat who ruled from 1920 to 1944 when he was deposed by Nazi Germany,

Horthy is revered by some as a hero who saved the country after a short-lived communist revolution in 1919 and the traumatic loss of two-thirds of its territory at the 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty.

However, he also passed anti-Jewish laws, which brought the country into an uneasy alliance with Hitler and was in charge when its Jews began being deported to Nazi death camps.

Horthy had "direct responsibility for the killing and destruction of several hundred thousand Hungarian Jews," Mazsihisz said in a statement Wednesday.

Last year, the government passed a law stipulating that from January 1, public areas could not be named after historical figures with associations to dictatorships, but this did not cover Horthy, who is not viewed as a dictator, according to AFP.

On Tuesday meanwhile, Hungary's constitutional court annulled passages from the country's Penal Code banning the use of symbols associated with Nazi and Communist dictatorships.

The 20-year-old law carried fines for wearing or promoting symbols like an SS-badge, the Hungarian Nazi arrow-cross, the hammer and sickle, the five-pointed red star or images including those symbols.

The court said the annulled parts were too broad and not sufficiently delineated.

Recently, a far-right lawmaker from Hungary's Jobbik party, known for its blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric, released a statement calling for a list to be compiled of all of the Jewish members of parliament, claiming that government officials of Jewish origin had unduly influenced Hungary's policy in the Mideast.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:25:43 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Op-Ed: Book Review: HEROD: The Man Who Had to be King

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:21 PM

The Israel Museum is featuring an exhibit of newly found artifacts from the life of Herod. This is the perfect time to read a fascinating book on his life by the late Yehuda Shulewitz, published posthumously and reviewed here.

Dr. Mordechai Nisan
Dr. Mordechai Nisan, is a retired lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Among his books is The Conscience of Lebanon: A Political Biography of Etienne Sakr (Abu-Arz). His most recent book is Only Israel West of the River: The Jewish State and the Palestinian Question, available at
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I remember seeing Yehuda in the library at the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. We would exchange greetings, and he would plunge into his reading. I didn't know that he was working on a labor of love - a book about Herod.

The story of Herod and the era associated with him is cut from the historical cloth of three primary dates: in 167 BCE the Hasmoneans [Maccabees] fought their way to Jewish independence from under Greek Hellenic rule and the Jewish state arose again; in 63 BCE the Roman Empire quashed Jewish independence; in 47 BCE Herod of Idumean and Nabatean parentage became the governor of the Galilee and then King of Judea in 37 BCE until his death in the year 4.

Herod, as Yehuda's book grippingly describes, "had to be king." He was driven by a passion for power and used any and all methods deemed necessary in his view - murdering his own sons, causing the death of his wife, killing rabbis of the Sanhedrin, slaughtering Jews - in order to rule Judea even under Roman authority. His regime was based on terror and cruelty, intrigue and plunder, while yet adorning the country with the rudiments of Greek culture and Roman construction. He built - rather enlarged - the Temple in Jerusalem, the port of Caesarea, roads and theatres, gymnasia and fortresses. One of them, Herodion where he is buried, bears his name until today.

Yehuda Shulewitz wrote a historical novel of a dazzling and vicious historical personality. We do not easily know if the conventional historical record of Herod and his times is accurate: there are questions concerning the famous work The Wars of the Jews by Joseph Flavius (Yosef ben Matityahu). Writers of yore doctored their manuscripts; this author, Joseph Flavius, was no less indebted to the Romans, actually crossing the line from being a patriotic Jew to a Roman cultural agent.

This fictional work may be markedly more accurate by plumbing the depths of Herod's soul. With creative imagination and psychological insight, Yehuda paints a portrait of Herod that animates his intense and fanatical ambitions. Coming alive, Herod is now a real person in fictional form; and it may be that the author of fiction captures the depths of the historical characters better than the dry text of history, and its questionable commitment to unbiased reporting. Fiction is no longer the opposite of reality but an authentic rendition of it. The work of fiction, as in the capable hands of Yehuda, can provide a realistic presentation of history, while a work of "history" may be more fictional than we can imagine or know.

Yehuda wrote about the things he loved: Eretz-Israel, Judaism, the Jewish people. His delicate and detailed descriptions of the land and its seasons and scenery reverberate in the chronological development of Herod's life. We the readers find ourselves in Emmaeus [between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv], at Jericho in the Jordan Valley, and on the Temple Mount. Yehuda puts life into history and history into the light of contemporary life.

This book bears the stamp of authenticity and humanity. We observe Mariamne Herod's wife and Queen Cleopatra his adversary, with all of the temper and vigor of women struggling to fulfill themselves and their goals. It is a painful picture, but one riveted with life-size people and their agonies.

Moreover, an author of fiction may use this genre of literature to convey his own autobiography. I think Yehuda was engaged in this endeavor, in the real sense of engagé, because he loved Israel, the land and its Jews, and the splendor of Torah, its law and homiletics. They are all resonating clearly from the book.

Herod: The Man Who Had to be King resounds with the author's personal love of history, while he was working at his regular job. You don't write a sweeping history, here close to five hundred pages in length, without a passion for the subject. But Yehuda was no Herod. With his suspicions and jealousies, always on the lookout for rivals and enemies, Herod was not able to be calm and behave with moderation. His manias were his greatest protagonist.

Yehuda was a man who radiated humility and doing good. He could relax from the conflicts of life because his soul was serene; he meant no harm to anybody, and believed in and spoke well of his people and country. Herod sought power and glory: but what was it really worth when his soul was tortured and wounded?

We can be grateful for Yehuda Shulewitz's lasting contribution to literature and history with this extraordinary book, to read it and be educated, in the annals of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. After Herod came Christianity and the destruction of the Second Temple. But we now live in the period of the national renaissance of our people, and in our homeland and state. With millennia-tested patience and persistence, proud of whom we are as an ancient and great people, Yehuda was able to inject life into history, just as he was living a new chapter in Jewish history in modern times.

About the book's author:

Yehuda Shulewitz was a respected historian and intellectual. Born in the United States, he made aliyah in 1947 and worked as Editor of English Economics Publications for the Bank of Israel. He wrote Herod when he retired and almost finished it before he passed away. His wife, Malka Hillel Shulewitz, an author in her own right and an activist for Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands, completed his work.

Herod is the story of the conflict between Herod, Rome and the Jewish people that takes the reader from the Land of Israel and Jerusalem to the bustle of Rome and the colorful thoroughfares of Alexandria, from Syria to the heart of the Parthian empire, to Babylonia, Idumea and Antioch. It presents a vast panorama of the Mediterranean region of some two thousand years ago, bringing to life the Great Sages, the High Priest and the Temple service. We meet Alexandra, the proud Hasmonean and her children and Antigonus, another Hasmonean, contender for the throne of Judea and a bitter enemy of Herod. We get to know Herod, the devoted family man of malevolent moods for whom no challenge was too great or too bloody to reach his goal.

The book can be ordered online at Amazon or Judaica Web Store and purchased at selected bookstores.

This review appeared in the Jewish Book Review and Emunah magazine, sent to Arutz Sheva by Malka Shulewitz.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:40:39 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Look at the NY Times. Whose Opinion Matters?

Yarden Frankl..
Honest Reporting..
20 February '13..

Does the New York Times Publish All the Opinions that are Fit to Print?

Are major media giving undue preference to anti-Israel opinions? Is there an obligation to publish pieces representing both sides of controversial issues?

HonestReporting typically focuses on how Israel is covered in the news sections of the mainstream media, but opinion pages also greatly influence perceptions of Israel.

This is the first in a series of HonestReporting reports that will examine which opinions various news organizations decide are worthy of publishing. We start with the New York Times, where we found that the overwhelming number of editorials, columns and op-eds represent perspectives that object to Israel or Israeli policies. Any reader exposed to these views, almost exclusively, over the course of twelve months will undoubtedly form a perspective skewed with a bias against Israel.

The Role of Opinion in Journalism

Publishing opinions - whether their own or from outside experts - allows the media to expose the public to different ways of looking at and understanding current events. As long as it is clear to the reader that this is opinion rather than fact, editorials, columns and op-eds have an important role to fill in news reporting.

With that in mind, we reviewed a whole year's worth of opinion pieces from the New York Times. We analyzed almost 100 editorials, columns and op-eds. Any opinion piece where Israel or the diplomatic process was the subject was studied. While one can argue the impact of a single article critical of Israel, there is no question that a year's worth of material from a variety of different sources will make an impact.

Our conclusion? The New York Times publishes anti-Israel opinions far more than those supporting Israel or critical of the Palestinian Authority.


Editorials, written by a news organization's own editor, reveal the opinions of the very people responsible for overseeing news coverage. In 2012, the New York Times published 20 editorials directly addressing Israel or an Israeli policy. All but 6 of these (80%) were critical. The vast majority either attacked Israel's position on settlements or derided any suggestion of Israeli military action against Iran.

Some of these editorials:

Mr. Netanyahu's Strategic Mistake: Israel is making a mistake by withholding tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority and moving ahead with new settlements rather than seeking to revive peace talks.

Wrong time for New Settlements: Claims that the findings of the Levy Commission on the legality of settlements threaten the chance for a peace agreement.

Israel's Embattled Democracy: Makes the case that the departure of the Kadima party from the governing coalition jeopardizes Israel's democracy.

While these opinions may have an appropriate place on the Times' editorial pages, they hardly reflect the full spectrum of perspectives. Should there not also be editorials that address Palestinian unwillingness to continue negotiations? Shouldn't the New York Times point out that Mahmoud Abbas's term of office expired years ago, and there is no evidence of a commitment towards democratic values within the Palestinian Authority? The Times seems unwilling to expose its readers to these viewpoints.

Columns and Op-Eds

According to editorials published in the New York Times, the editors believe that Israel's policy on settlements is responsible for the lack of progress in the peace process. They also believe that a military attack on Iran would be counter-productive. The op-ed section, which is opinion written by others, offers no dissenting views on these issues. Of the 63 columns and op-eds that the Times published, some 43 were directly critical of Israel, either in general, with regards to the settlements, or concerning Iran.

Buttressing the Times editors' perspective that settlements are the chief obstacle to peace were "outside experts" whose op-eds repeated the arguments of the editorials. For example, in America's Failed Palestinian Policy, Yousef Munayyer claims:

Palestinians' patience grew thin as the number of Israeli settlers tripled between the beginning of the "peace process" in 1991 and today. Palestinians learned that the message they initially got about a peace process leading to statehood was either made in bad faith or an outright lie.

The author is identified as being the Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund. Readers may not know that this advocacy organization's mission is to "give voice to the Palestinian perspective." Munayyer is a prolific author with a well documented history of anti-Israel bias.

An example of an op-ed that also supports the editors' perspective that a military strike against Iranian nuclear sites would be a terrible mistake is Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully. Written by academics Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull, the piece argues that:

Attacking Iran might set its nuclear program back a few years, but it will most likely encourage Iran to aggressively seek - and probably develop - nuclear weapons.

Of course this view would not come as a surprise to readers of the New York Times since it is one of the most repeated opinions to regularly appear on the opinion pages.

And it's not as if there are regular columnists working at the Times who clarify Israel's perspective to readers. Richard Cohen and Tom Friedman, the columnists who write most frequently about Israel, are both clearly critics of the Netanyahu government and its policies. This comes through in the combined 22 columns the two penned during 2012.

The Times did not completely prevent dissenting viewpoints from appearing on the op-ed pages. Two articles gave views supporting Israeli policy. One argued for the legality of the settlements while a second took issue with those who have said that a military strike on Iran would not be effective. Yet these two articles hardly constitute "balance."

Overall, 68 percent of opinion pieces in the New York Times in 2012 were critical of Israel while just over 2 percent were supportive.

This article is continued on Page 2

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:51:25 PM PST
Sixties fan says:
Part 2

Whose Opinion Matters? A Look at the New York Times
February 20, 2013 11:35by Yarden Frankl

Style Points

It's not just the raw numbers that paint an anti-Israel picture. Since these are, by definition, subjective articles, the language is usually much more exaggerated. One op-ed (Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking) states:

..the years from 2005 to 2012 have been seven decidedly lean ones for peacemaking and withdrawal and seven gluttonously fat ones for entrenching Israel's occupation and settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

An editorial (Israel and Iran) against military options on Iran says:

Israeli leaders are again talking about possible military action against Iran. This is, at best, mischievous and, at worst, irresponsible, especially when diplomacy has time to run.

An op-ed (The Two-State Solution on the Line) in favor of the Palestinians' (successful) bid to be elevated to a non-voting state in the United Nations warned that:

If this resolution fails, it will probably mark the death of the two-state solution and move us even closer to a one-state outcome, with uncertain and potentially catastrophic consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians.

If readers are being flooded with articles that combine conclusions and style in a sharply critical anti-Israel thrust, there is no question that they will walk away with a warped view of the conflict.

For example, when thinking about the pros and cons of an Israeli military strike on Iran, the Times reader will have been exposed to a large variety of dissenting voices while only a single piece in the whole year made a solid case for a strike. Likewise on the issue of settlements, it is unlikely that a reader would even know that there are actually conflicting opinions on the legality of settlements. After a continuous trickle of articles that reflect negatively on Israel's government, is the Times informing the public of the obvious differences between Israel's democracy and the Palestinian Authority's autocratic rule?

We do not call for the New York Times to refrain from publishing opinion articles critical of Israel. But we do call for them to recognize their journalistic obligations and provide readers with legitimate views from all sides, including those that support Israeli policies.

Contact the Times and ask where are the editorials, columns and op-eds that express Israel's perspectives. You can write to them by clicking here.

Keep an eye out for the second part of this series where we will be reviewing opinion pieces published in the Washington Post.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:54:38 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

PLO Wants to Roll Back the Clock
February 19, 2013 11:21by Pesach Benson

Maen Rashid Areikat

When it comes to spin games, Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO's top US envoy is pretty creative. He once claimed that Canaanites were occupiers, and tried sugarcoating the idea of a judenrein Palestinian state.

Now, Areikat's back with a disingenuous LA Times op-ed. All we have to do, he maintains, is turn the clock back to the Taba talks of 2001.

The potential for an agreement is there; we just need to create the conditions for it to succeed. The two sides can capitalize on progress made since the Taba talks of 2001. Everybody knows the parameters: a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps similar in size and quality, a shared capital in Jerusalem, acceptable and legitimate security arrangements and an agreed-upon and just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem based on the 1948 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194. The success of any political process depends on clear terms of reference, a clear time frame and a clear endgame.

Good grief: Everything Areikat's asking for now was on the table at Taba 2001.

And what's the progress Areikat refers to? The Palestinians broke off the Taba talks, the second intifada raged on, Yasser Arafat was replaced by Mahmoud Abbas and his do-nothing doctrine. Israel withdrew from Gaza and Hamas simply took over and continued firing rockets. The PLO all but bailed out of Oslo with its unilateral statehood bid.

Progess? What progress?

If Taba is good enough for the Palestinians now, why wasn't it good enough then?

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 3:04:18 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Dry Bones takes on Pallywood. Read Yaakov Kirschen's full post to see how playing for the camera lives on, even in images that predate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

(vide strip online)

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 5:26:59 PM PST
Sixties fan says:
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ignoring real apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing but obsessed with Israel

Kasim Hafeez..
Israel Opinion/Ynet..
20 February '13..

Genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid; if you've ever had the pleasure of speaking with some of the more zealous haters of Israel you'll hear these phrases at some point, normally yelled at you by a delightful middle class keffiyeh-wearing student.

I guess to some extent, sadly, we have become slightly accustomed to these libels. The hypocrisy of those claiming to be pro-Palestinian and champions of human rights and their obsessive hatred of Israel has led to the abandonment of those who suffer true apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Detractors will undoubtedly be quick to ask why supporters of Israel point to other regimes to exonerate Israel. But this is not really what I'm doing. Israel needs no exoneration as, fortunately, Israelis are able to protest, challenge and choose their governments. That's democracy folks. But, just for the sake of argument, let us say all the malicious lies have some truth to them. Still the question remains: Why is Israel singled out for protests and global marches lauded by the 'enlightened' regimes in Tehran and Damascus, yet some of the world's human rights catastrophes carry on daily, completely ignored, by the same holier than thou activists?

For me, a particular source of pain and anger is the situation of minorities and women in my parents' homeland. In Pakistan, not a week goes by without a story of rape, murder, humiliation and torture. In this Islamic country, terms such as Jesus Christ are banned in text messages and a young girl is shot for demanding basic education. Yet apart from the attempted murder of Malala Yusufzai, these stories rarely make it to the press. The brutally oppressed Christian minority suffers at the hands of an archaic blasphemy law, yet, apart from small-scale protests held by Pakistani Christian groups, there were no calls to boycott Pakistan and no flotillas were planned. I guess murdered Pakistani Christians maybe not a trendy enough cause. I wonder if a British newspaper would publish a cartoon of a Pakistani mullah murdering minorities to pave the way for a Sharia state. Our journalists love freedom and liberty, but the love their lives a little bit more.

Obsessed with destruction of Israel

The House of Saud promotes religious apartheid, destroys history and spreads wahhabism, yet the world remains silent. Maybe the cause isn't cool enough. Or maybe we should just allow people to suffer and dismiss it as a cultural phenomenon; maybe we should say this is how things are in that part of the world and focus on the need to stop 'apartheid Israel,' which just elected another Knesset member of Ethiopian descent.

Remember when a handful of Darfur nationals and real human rights activists protested outside the UN Human Rights Commission against the atrocities in the region? Well, the instigator of the ethnic cleansing, Sudan, sat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Once again, so many of our activists remained silent because Israel was not involved. It is interesting to note that some of Israel's fiercest enemies like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain dismissed the UN report on Darfur, penned by Nobel laureate Jody Wolfe, and acted to protect Sudan at the UN.

Why are the self-appointed defenders of Palestinian rights silent while Palestinians are being massacred in Syria by Assad's regime? And why do they remain silent when a Palestinian girl is murdered in the name of honor? Where were they when Hamas fired rockets from inside a school in Gaza? Oh, I forgot, they were outside the nearest Israeli embassy chanting slogans in support of Hamas.

I know there are many people who genuinely care about Palestinians and want to see them live in peace with their neighbors, but there are too many modern-day Jean-Paul Marats who are full of fiery rhetoric and demand blood. People have become obsessed with the destruction of Israel. These people should be ashamed of themselves, emulating the Nazis by urging boycotts of Jewish businesses while murder, rape and humiliation are rampant in so many nations. Real apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing are occurring on our watch, yet these people have become so obsessed with the end of Zionism that the suffering of others had become a side show.

Protest the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia and you'll have my respect. Protesting against an Israeli theater group is pathetic.

Numerous Middle East countries consistently violate human rights, yet the UN vilifies Israel. Is it just me or is something deeply wrong with our moral compass?


In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 7:32:59 PM PST
Lientje says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 9:20:09 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 21, 2013 8:21:24 AM PST
Sixties fan says:
Erev Tov Israel ! Shalom !

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 8:23:30 AM PST
Sixties fan says:
20-Feb-13: Samer Issawi and the efficacy of hunger strikes as a mask for ongoing terrorism

The caption on this AFP photo reads: "Samer al-Issawi's mother attends
a solidarity sit-in outside the Red Cross offices in Jerusalem"
[Image Source]

There is another sickening campaign getting underway to turn a hunger-striking convicted murderer into a figure of admiration for people who can't bother to understand terrorism or the people who do it.

Samir Tariq Ahmad Muhammad is one of the 1,027 Palestinian Arab terrorists who walked free in October 2012 as Israel bowed to jihadist extortion in the Shalit Transaction to secure the release of a young hostage illegally held for more than five years by the terrorists of Hamas. You can see him in the published Israel Prison Service list issued at the time: look for ID number 037274735.

Like some other stupendously luckier-than-smart Palestinian Arab prisoners serving long terms in prison for acts of terrorism against Israelis, this one was re-arrested in April 2002 and put back behind bars to serve the balance of his term because of an infringement of the conditions (yes, there were certainly conditions) of his completely unjustified, unjust and wrongful October 2011 return to freedom and open society.

A report yesterday by Tamar Sternhall from the excellent CAMERA organization ("Neglected Facts About Hunger-Striking Samer Issawi") explains that this Samir Muhammad is now operating under the simpler name Samer Issawi. His home town is Issawiya, on Jerusalem's northern edge, and so in some places they call him Samer Tareq al-Issawi. As CAMERA's article points out, "multiple names are not uncommon among Palestinians".

Issawi was convicted of attempted murder, possession of weapons and explosives, and other charges relating to membership of a prohibited terrorist organization. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Then came the Shalit Transaction... and then some time after that his re-arrest.

He is behind Israeli bars again and - for the present - there is no other Israeli hostage whose life can be cynically traded for the freedom of terrorists like him. So he and others have moved on to Plan B.

By indulging in a kind of hunger strike (the Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs says he has been observing it intermittently since August), he joins other murder-minded jihadists in bidding for media attention and sympathy for the hungry underdog via performance theatre [see this YouTube clip], protest clashes with Israeli police, Facebook pages, Twitter campaigns, online "action" alerts and muffin bake-offs (alright so we invented the last one). His chances of succeeding are not bad if you take into account how this kind of thing works. See, by way of illustration, what we posted here ["12-Feb-13: A picture, and the thousand words it does not tell"] a few days ago about the media's fawning and extremely selective attention on another freed/reincarcerated terrorist, Mahmud Abdallah Abd al-Rahman Abu Sariya.

AFP's syndicated report says he is a long-term security prisoner who was freed and re-arrested on July 7, 2012 and began his hunger strike on August 1, 2012. Why was he originally arrested and sentenced to a long-term sentence? Don't ask AFP. Other than referring to him simply as one of the "long-term security prisoners who were initially released by Israel under a prisoner swap deal in October 2011", they're not telling.

Associated Press says nothing in its report about how this Issawi got onto the wrong side of the Israeli justice system in the first place. All its reporter manages to disclose on the subject is
Issawi's original sentence was 26 years "for a terrorist act" but he had served only six years
which is a direct quote from the lady who serves as spokesperson for the Israel Prison Service. How hard can it be, we wonder, for someone working for one of the world's most influential sources of news reporting to find out how this terrorist got convicted and sent to prison in the first place? Doesn't it matter to them? Or to the consumers of their news reports?

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 8:34:29 AM PST
Sixties fan says:
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Palestinians not boycotting Ahava products, but vigorously promoting sales.

Why it is that a Canadian company ought not carry Ahava products, when the Palestinians themselves in Jericho are selling them?

Rhonda Spivak..
Winnipeg Jewish Review..
15 February '13..

While the international pro-Palestinian boycott movement has been actively promoting a boycott of Ahava skin care products for the last couple of years, in Jericho, under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians are not only not boycotting the Ahava products, they are vigorously promoting sales of such products.

In Canada, in the fall of 2011 the boycott movement tried to convince Hudson's Bay in Toronto to take the products off the shelf and took credit for the fact that Ahava products disappeared from the shelves for a while. ( by June 2012, the products were back at the Bay, and the Bay claimed that the line was taken down as it was in the process of being rebranded, not due to the boycott). If the boycott movement tries such antics again against Ahava products, they should be asked why it is that a Canadian company ought not carry the products, when the Palestinians themselves in Jericho are selling them?

Ahava cosmetics in the Ahava
Temptations Store in Jericho
photo by Rhonda Spivak

When I was in Jericho two weeks ago, the first thing that my Palestinian driver Faisal, wanted to show me in Jericho was the store selling "Ahava products." He was going to take me to see the old city of Jericho, and stopped just outside the entrance way where there is a large store called "Ahava Temptation" in English (see photo). The store was filled to the brim with Ahava products with prices that are all marked in American dollars for tourists to buy. Virtually every tour bus that comes to Jericho is directed into that store, to buy Ahava and other products at prices that are not cheap at all. So, in other words, if the Palestinians are buying Ahava products and making money off them, why should Canadians boycott Ahava?

The main manufacturing plant for Ahava products made with minerals from the dead sea is in in Mitzpe Shalem, a kibbutz located on the Dead Sea, technically over the green line in the West Bank, ( I would venture a guess that many Palestinians work there).

What was also interesting was to see the other amount of Israeli products being sold there. After looking at the Ahava products and also looking at the impressive ruins of old city of Jericho, several Palestinians flagged me down to look at their wares. They were at an outdoor shop just outside the entrance to the archeological ruins of the old city of Jericho . They were trying to sell a few of the same T-shirts at the Ahava Temptations complex but at half the price. A Palestinian vendor showed me the array of T-shirts he was selling, all of which had Hebrew on them. None had Arabic on them-just English and /or Hebrew. I said I wanted a T-shirt that said Palestine on it, but ironically he didn't have any that said Palestine. He showed me one that referred to the Galil on it with Hebrew writing. "Here, this is Palestine," he said. He repeated it. I decided not to start up by telling him that the Galil is Israel, under any recognized international map. It reminded me that a day earlier I had been at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem and looked at a new tourism for palestine brochure set out in the lobby, which interestingly enough featured restaurants and accommodations not only in Ramallah, and Bethlehem but also in Nazareth. I noticed that when the brochure referred to places in Nazareth, it generally didn't say "Nazareth Israel" but just Nazareth---as if Israel didn't exist. There was only one time that Nazareth was referred to as Nazareth Israel, and I think that that was because the authors had somehow missed that page and forgotten to delete the word Israel as they had on all the other pages.

I asked the Palestinian vendors selling T-shirts why twenty years after Jericho became the first autonomous area under the Palestinian Authority, he wasn't selling anything other than Israeli made t-shirts. He didn't have an answer.

I asked if he had ever thought of selling a T-shirt with a photo of PA Mahmoud Abbas on it? He responded, "It's too expensive?" I replied, "How expensive could it be--it can't be hard to get a photo of him? It made me begin thinking that throughout the day in Jericho, where we drove through much of the town for several hours, I hadn't seen one photo or poster of PA President Mahmoud Abbas anywhere. There wasn't any sign of his popularity from what I could see. In local municipal elections that took place in October 2012, it was reported that preliminary results showed a Fatah win in Jericho (with Hamas boycotting the elections]. Other areas showed Fatah losing to independent candidates, showing a weakened Fatah, and voter discontent with Fatah's perceived corruption.

On a final note, I did try to get my driver to take me to the downtown circle of Jericho, with shops frequented by local residents but Palestinian rather than ones catering only to tourists, but my driver clearly did not want to go anywhere near them. He took me very quickly through the circle of the center of town where there were a fair number of Palestinian policemen stationed (traffic police I think). I wanted to get out and walk around (to see what prices were for locals, not tourists), but Faisal ignored the request. I have been wondering why Faisal only wanted to take me to the Ahava Temptations complex. Could it be because he, and other drivers, gets some sort of kick-back for bringing me there?


Posted on Feb 21, 2013 8:45:12 AM PST
Sixties fan says:
Thursday, February 21, 2013

The busy and not so little neighborhood that Israel resides in.

Shoshana Bryen..
Gatestone Institute..
21 February '13..

Bashar Assad faces a hard reckoning. Not the one that comes from rebels battling for control of key Syrian assets, or the one that may come some day from charges of genocide at the International Criminal Court. The reckoning that comes from understanding that your key ally, Iran, has interests in your country other than you, and regional interests bigger than you.

Iran connects with a variety of countries and non-state actors to advance its worldwide interests; Assad's Syria is only part of the equation. Iran continues to supply the Syrian army and has military forces of its own there, but Iran is also moving to protect and preserve its Mediterranean proxy Hezbollah. Weapons are already moving into Hezbollah hands in Lebanon, which may have prompted an Israeli air strike late last month. Iranian and Hezbollah commanders appear to be building militias within Syria to retain a presence if Assad falls or leaves the country. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said Iranian and Hezbollah commanders oversee the Jaysh fighters, one of many groups that have sprung up as Syria disintegrates. In response, Syrian rebel forces are threatening to take the fight to Hezbollah directly, but the revelation means Syria may be on the path to resemble the morass of Lebanon during the 1970s.

A little history helps here.

The Alawite minority that has ruled Syria for decades is not of the Shiite mainstream; Alawites have been called "idol worshippers" -- the worst possible sobriquet -- by some Shiite religious authorities. For the details see Martin Kramer, but the short form is that a marriage of convenience began in the 1970s between Hafez Assad, by most accounts a more clever despot than his son, and Iranian Shiite religious leaders. It expanded after the Iranian Revolution brought those religious leaders to power, and it continues to this day. In the early days of the Iran-Iraq war, Assad did side with fellow secular Ba'athist Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But by 1982 (some sources put the timing after the Syrian massacre of 20-35,000 Sunnis in Hama to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood) relations between the two soured, leaving an opening for improved Syrian-Iranian ties.

According to CIA reports of the time, Iran and Syria agreed that Syria would close the Iraqi pipeline through its territory in exchange for subsidized Iranian oil. Shortly thereafter, Iran was known to have sent 2,000 Iranian Guard Corps troops to Syria and from there to Lebanon in support of Hezbollah, which was just emerging as a power center after the 1982 Israel-Lebanon war. Syria has been a passageway for Iranian arms to Hezbollah, both by sea, and through the Damascus airport and overland, giving Iran influence in the internal affairs of Lebanon as Hezbollah continued to grow, particularly after Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

After the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, the expanded UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon was tasked with ensuring that only weapons of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) were south of the Litani River; this should have meant disarming Hezbollah, but the mandate of UN Resolution 1701 did not include guarding or even monitoring the Syria-Lebanon border. Iranian arms shipments continued apace and in 2011, Hezbollah became the dominant member of the Lebanese Government.

Whatever the fate of Bashar Assad, Iran is unlikely to abandon its investment in Hezbollah or in other Syrian groups, but Iran's interests go well beyond the Syria/Hezbollah axis. Iranian influence in predominantly Shiite Iraq continues to grow and there are reports of Iran building Iraqi Hezbollah militias as the security situation continues to deteriorate since the American departure in 2011.

Iranian warships have been docking in Sudan, where it appears that in December, Israel destroyed a missile depot housing Iranian Fajr-5 rockets destined for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Iranian warships returned to Sudan later that month.

Iran's relationship with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has been well documented. But in the late 1980s and 1990s, Argentina sold Iran nuclear materials and modified an Iranian nuclear reactor. Relations were cut short after Iran was implicated in the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli Embassy and Jewish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires. Trade relations were never halted though, and of late, Argentina's sales of agricultural products to Iran have made it Iran's 7th largest trading partner. The assumption is that Iran will pay for commodities it sorely needs with oil that it cannot sell owing to Western sanctions, which Argentina ignores. Most recently, Argentina invited Iran -- a key suspect in the bombings -- to participate in a "truth commission" to investigate the bombings, a decision Israel and others have loudly protested. Iranian television claims the "political problems" are in the past.

In 2012, former German defense official Hans Ruehle said North Korea was testing Iranian nuclear weapons. An Iranian observer appears to have been in North Korea for the nuclear test that occurred earlier this month.

Understanding that Iran has interests around the world, and that those interests go beyond preserving his autocratic regime should be a hard reckoning for Bashar Assad, who has been loyal to the Mullahs and their agenda.

Understanding the same thing would be a hard reckoning for the United States, which has focused rhetorical attention on the Iranian nuclear program, but has utterly failed to see Iranian activities spread openly across the globe.


Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center.

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 8:50:35 AM PST
Sixties fan says:

Op-Ed: The Holocaust was Caused by the Church, not Just Hitler

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 7:12 AM

The Christians were against the practise of Judaism and tried to convert the Jews. In secular Europe, the Jews themselves were rejected as a race. Hitler's foundations were laid in the 4th century, and still stand.

Ted Belman, Israpundit
The author is a retired attorney and the editor of Israpundit. In 2009 he made aliya and is now living in Jerusalem.
► More from this writer

The Holocaust didn't occur because of Hitler but because of the Church. Hitler merely built upon the policies of the Church and drove them to their logical conclusion.

Of course I am familiar with the idea that but for Christianity, the Holocaust wouldn't have happened, but wasn't fully aware of the debt owed by Hitler to precedents set by the Church for the details of his policies, including the final solution.

R. Hilberg's classic The Destruction of European Jews provides the link. Hiberg begins his introduction with these words:
1.The German destruction of the European Jews was a tour de force; the Jewish collapse under the German assault was a manifestation of failure. Both of these phenomena were the final product of an earlier age.
1.Anti-Jewish policies and anti-Jewish actions did not have their beginning in 1933. For many centuries, and in many countries, the Jews have been victims of destructive action. What was the object of these activities? What were the aims of those who persisted in anti-Jewish deeds? Throughout Western history, three consecutive policies have been applied against Jewry in its dispersion.

The policies referred to included 1) conversion, 2) expulsion and 3) extermination. The first and second were often accompanied by the threat of execution; all of which were sanctioned by the Church.

Hilberg explains:
1.The first anti-Jewish policy started in the fourth century after Christ in Rome. In the early 300's, during the reign of Constantine, the Christian Church gained power in Rome, and Christianity became the state religion. From this period, the state carried out Church policy. For the next twelve centuries, the Catholic Church prescribed the measures that were to be taken with respect to the Jews. Unlike the pre-Christian Romans, who claimed no monopoly on religion and faith, the Christian Church insisted upon acceptance of Christian doctrine.
1.For an understanding of Christian policy toward Jewry, it is essential to realize that the Church pursued conversion not so much for the sake of aggrandizing its power (the Jews have always been few in number), but because of the conviction that it was the duty of true believers to save unbelievers from the doom of eternal hellfire. Zealousness in the pursuit of conversion was an indication of the depth of faith. The Christian religion was not one of many religions, like other religions. It was the true religion, the only religion. Those who were not in its fold were either ignorant or in error.

The Jews could not accept Christianity.

The same might be said of Islam, though it allowed Jews and Christians, "peoples of the book", to be dhimmis and pay a tax, Jizya", for the privilege. The Church also imposed a similar tax on Jews.
1.In the very early stages of the Christian faith, many Jews regarded Christians as members of a Jewish sect. The first Christians, after all, still observed the Jewish law. They had merely added a few non-essential practices, such as baptism, to their religious life. But this view was changed abruptly when Christ was elevated to godhood. The Jews have only one G-d. That G-d is indivisible. He is a jealous G-d and admits of no other G-ds. He is not Christ, and Christ is not He. Christianity and Judaism have since been irreconcilable. An acceptance of Christianity has since signified an abandonment of Judaism.
1.With patience and persistence, the Church attempted to convert obstinate Jewry, and for twelve hundred years, the theological argument was fought without interruption. The Jews were not convinced. Gradually the Church began to back its words with force. The Papacy did not permit pressure to be put on individual Jews; Rome never permitted forceful conversions.
1.However, the clergy did use pressure on the whole. Step by step, but with ever widening effect, the Church adopted "defensive" measures against its passive victims. Christians were "protected" from the "harmful" consequences of intercourse with Jews by rigid laws against intermarriage, by prohibitions of discussions about religious issues, by laws against domicile in common abodes. The Church "protected" its Christians from the "harmful" Jewish teachings by burning the Talmud and by barring Jews from public office.

And yet it is the Jews who are always attacked for their separateness.
1.The clergy was not sure of its success - hence the widespread practice, in the Middle Ages, of identifying proselytes as former Jews, hence the inquisition of new Christians suspected of heresy, hence the issuance in Spain of certificates of "purity" (limpieza) signifying purely Christian ancestry, and the specification of half new Christians, quarter new Christians, one-eighth new Christians, etc.

Hitler's racial purity laws found their antecedent and precedent in these laws. And so did his order that Jews identify themselves by wearing a yellow Star of David.

Efforts to convert the Jews were spectacularly unsucessful, even aided by all the restrictions placed on the Jews.
1.Too much had been invested in twelve hundred years of conversion policy. Too little had been gained. From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the Jews of England, France, Germany, Spain, Bohemia and Italy were presented with ultimatums which gave them no choice but one: conversion or expulsion.

In 1542 Martin Luther rejected the authority of Rome and started the Lutheran Church. He, too, hated the Jews. He and others who broke away from Rome became known as Protestants. There followed hundreds of years of war between Catholics and Protestants.

At the end of the Eighteenth Century, the French Revolution took place, a by-product of which was the liberation of the French Jews, who thereafter enjoyed equal rights. The armies of the revolution, headed by Napoleon, spread the values of "liberte, fraternite and egalite" to the east, including in Germany and Italy. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the Bourbons in France kept the liberating legislation, but the monarchs in Germany and Italy cancelled it. Nevertheless, Jews embraced the belief, after a taste of liberation, that full equality was the inevitable corollary of the emerging secular-political order throughout Europe. In Germany, Reform Judaism was founded and in Russia and Poland, Jews flocked to the Communist banner.

But many segments of society remained deeply anti-Semitic, leaving many Jews to conclude that the promise of "liberte, fraternite and egalite" was a pipe dream even though the society was now secular. And so was born the the movement for the Auto-Emancipation of the Jews, which became known as Zionism. Jews had to reconstitute themselves as a nation in their own land.

In Christian Europe, the Jews had only to convert to be accepted. The Christians were against the practise of Judaism. In secular Europe, the Jews themselves were rejected as a race. Thus, conversion was not open to them. But expulsion or emigration was still available. Thus millions of Jews the Pale of Settlement beginning in 1880 emigrated well into the nineteen thirties. Hitler searched in vain for a country to which to expel Germany's Jews, but no one wanted them. In 1942 he instituted the final solution, extermination.

R. Hiberg in his masterful study, argues:
1.if we analyze that singular massive upheaval, we discover that most of what happened in those 12 years, 1933 to 1945, had already happened before. The Nazi destruction process did not come out of a void, it was the culmination of a cyclical trend beginning in the Fourth Century in Rome.

During the conversion era, the Church said, "you have no right to live among us as Jews". Then in the segregation/expulsion process, "you have no right to live among us" and finally in the extermination process, "you have no right to live".
1.These progressively more drastic goals brought in their wake a slow and steady growth of anti Jewish action and anti-Jewish thinking.... The German Nazis then, did not discard the past, they built upon it. They did not begin a development, they completed it. In the deep recesses of anti-Jewish history we shall find many of the administrative and psychological tools with which the Nazis implemented their destruction process. In the hollows of the past we shall also discover the roots of the characteristic Jewish response to an outside attack.

To better understand this statement, Hilberg presents a table of Canonical Law restricting the Jews beginning in the Fourth Century opposite which he places similar Nazi measures.

Then writes:
1.No summation of Canonical Law can be as revealing as a description of the Rome ghetto, maintained by the Papal State until the occupation of the city by the Royal Italian Army in 1870. A German journalist who visited the city in its closing days, published such an account:
1."To rent any house or business establishment outside the ghetto boundaries, the Jews needed the permission of Cardinal Vicar. Acquisition of real estate outside the ghetto was prohibited. Trade or industrial products or goods were prohibited. Higher schooling was prohibited.. The professions of lawyer, druggist, notary, painter and architect were prohibited. A Jew could be a doctor provided he confined his practice to Jewish patients. No Jew could hold office. Jews were required to pay taxes like everyone else and, in addition, the following: 1) A yearly stipend for the upkeep of the Catholic officials who supervised the Ghetto Finance Administration and the Jewish Community Organization, 2) A yearly sum of 5250 lira for Casa Pia for missionary work among Jews, 3) A yearly sum of 5250 lira to the Cloister of the Converted for the same purpose. In return the Papal State expended a yearly sum of 1500 lira for welfare work. But no state money was paid for education or the care of the sick."

Hiberg also provided a table of Pre-Nazi and Nazi Anti-Jewish Measures. As can be seen, the destructive process was at work in Germany long before the Nazis came to power.

But all this in no way is meant to excuse Hitler.

After the Holocaust, the manifestations of anti-Semitism became very subdued. It was not "cool" to express such feelings in any way. Unfortunately, the haters began expressing the anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism. These expression are now commonplace and the hatred of Israel is growing exponentially. As a result, the movement to exterminate Israel has become very strong.

But we Jews will survive that too

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2013 9:01:27 AM PST
jeffesq613 says:
<The policies referred to included 1) conversion, 2) expulsion and 3) extermination.>

I had a teacher years ago who explained the 3 phases as:

1. You may not live among us as Jews.

2. You may not live among us.

3. You may not live.

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 9:13:00 AM PST
Sixties fan says:

Op-Ed: Paris: The Beirut of Western Europe

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:30 AM

French Jews are once again falling into a state of fear, just as in the past. And for good reason. France is occupied territory and the occupiers are Islamists.

Giulio Meotti
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.
► More from this writer

In the face of Islamic militancy, French journalists as a class have lost their nerve and compromised their professionalism. No serious publication has given the proper attention to the worst wave of anti-Semitism in Europe since the Second World War.

It began in 1990, when the body of an 81-year-old Jewish man was dug up and impaled on an umbrella in Carpentras, near Avignon. The French media and politicians called it "vandalism".

Anti-Semitism is "la maladie francaise". It was anti-Semitism which court-martialld an innocent Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, for treason in 1894. It was anti-Semitism which prompted Vichy's Pierre Laval to deprive French Jews of their rights even more energetically than the Nazis of Occupied France pressed him to do.

It is anti-Semitism which today hunts the French Jews in the streets.

In France today, the windows of Jewish buildings are obscured by velvet curtains to protect the attendants from flying glass and diners at Paris' fashionable kosher restaurants eat behind bulletproof windows, while thugs with machine guns shoot up synagogues, day care centers, Jewish schools and monuments to the unknown Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust.

France saw an increase of 58 percent in anti-Semitic incidents in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to the recent report by the French Jewish community security service.

614 anti-Semitic acts were recorded in 2012, or about 1.6 per day. In the past, the most severe manifestation of anti-Semitism in France was the desecration of a small cemetery or a few demented swastikas. Today 25% of the physical attacks are carried out with a weapon.

A few days ago, it was an ordinary day of Jew-hunting.

At the entrance to the same Jewish school in Toulouse where Mohamed Merah executed three Jewish pupils and a rabbi last March, a woman brandished a knife at a pupil who was about to leave the school building.

A second attack took place outside Marseille's railway station, Gare Saint- Charles. A Jewish man, wearing a gold Star of David pendant, was approached by two young men on a scooter, who tore the chain from his neck, insulted the victim using anti-Semitic language and hit him.

Meanwhile a French organization that saved Jews during the Holocaust declined to attend a commemoration because it was organized by pro-Israel Jews. To be exact, the Marseille branch of a French Protestant group established in 1939 refused to attend the region's memorial ceremony for Jewish Holocaust victims because of the "Zionist" attitude of CRIF, the umbrella group representing French Jews.

Meanwhile, the Facebook page "Juifs Francais Contre Le Sionisme", French Jews against Zionism, reached 3.564 "likes".

No major French newspaper commemorated Ilan Halimi, who, on the 13th February of 2006 was tortured and slaughtered by a Muslim gang just because he was a Jew living in the capital of what remains of European Jewry after the Shoah, Paris, the city of Dreyfus and the Enlightenment.

Ilan was not wearing a kippa. He had only a Hebrew name, but it was enough to make him an object of prey. Neighbors heard Halimi's screams, but didn't say a word. This poor Jew was found near a squalid railroad station. Half-naked, with cigarette burns on his Jewish flesh, he died in the ambulance. Five years after his execution, Ilan's death doesn't merit any expressions of shock and anger by a public opinion always ready to plead for "dialogue and tolerance".

French Jews are once again faling into a state of inferiority and fear, as was the case with past generations. Jews who can do so will leave Europe for Israel. Those who do not have the means to emigrate will be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel in the public square.

Don't speak Hebrew in the streets.

Today captain Dreyfus would have never been able to reach Devil's Island. He would have been lynched after leaving the court by an Arab mob.

The irony is that France, which in Europe leads the war against Israel's "occupation", is herself under Islamist occupation and Jews are more safe around the Hawara checkpoint than in Villeurbanne or Sarcelles.

Before Beirut became a shooting gallery in the 1970s, it used to be known as "the Paris of the Middle East". Today Paris is the Beirut of Western Europe.

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 9:31:26 AM PST
Sixties fan says:

French Family Kidnapped by Islamist `Boko Haram' Terror Group

A French family of seven with four children has been abducted by the Nigeria-based radical Islamist "Boko Haram" terrorist organization.

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By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/20/2013, 5:04 PM

Malian soldiers at Gossi checkpoint


A French family of seven, including four children, has been abducted by the Nigeria-based radical Islamist "Boko Haram" terrorist organization. The kidnappers moved the family yesterday from the far north of Cameroon, where they were abducted, to neighboring Nigeria, where Boko Haram is based.

An Islamist group which strongly opposes man-made laws and modern science, the organization was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2001 and seeks to establish Shari'a (Islamic law) in the country. The group is also known for attacking Christians and bombing churches, and has been responsible for at least 450 killings.

Among those kidnapped were the two parents, an uncle and four children ages five, eight, 10 and 12. They were abducted Tuesday by six gunmen on three motor bikes while traveling near the Waza nature reserve. Their vehicle was later discovered in a river near the Cameroon border with Nigeria.

The father in the family is an employee in French gas company GDF Suez.

Police in both countries are involved in the investigation.

"We believe that the Boko Haram carried out this kidnapping but we don't yet have a claim of responsibility," French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 2 Television on Tuesday night. "These are groups that claim the same fundamentalism, who use the same methods, whether it's in Mali, Somallia or Nigeria."

A decision by France to help the African nation of Mali stop radical Islamist terrorists from seizing control of the country has led to numerous attacks against French nationals, its foreign affairs ministry noted in a statement on its website. The Mali conflict, in which Nigeria has chosen to fight alongside France, as "given rise to threats against French interest and expatriates," the ministry wrote.

Some 4,000 French troops are in Mali at present, but Le Drian said earlier this month that France had reached its maximum deployment. The French army plans to begin to hand over operations to Malian troops - also numbering 4,000 - some time in March, in order to focus on fighting radical Islamist terrorists in northern Mali.

France has issued a warning to its citizens following the kidnapping, telling its nationals to leave northern Cameroon "as quickly as possible." The ministry also advised against travel to areas bordering Nigeria until further notice. At least 6,200 French citizens are currently registered as residents of Cameroon, although it is not known how many others are transient in the African nation.

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 6:33:28 PM PST
Sixties fan says:
Friday, February 22, 2013

In the PA's world, ordinary Palestinians' real problems always come a distant second to its own prestige

Evelyn Gordon..
21 February '13..

You couldn't make this up: The Palestinian Authority is furious that Israel and Hamas are reportedly holding indirect talks in Cairo to firm up their cease-fire, because "only the PLO was authorized to conduct such negotiations in its capacity as the `sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.'" Never mind that the PLO, aka the PA (both are headed by the same man, Mahmoud Abbas, and dominated by the same party, Fatah) has refused to hold talks with Israel for four years now; if Hamas had to wait for the PLO to discuss its pressing concerns with Israel, it might still be waiting when the Messiah comes. In the PA's world, ordinary Palestinians' real problems-of which residents of Hamas-run Gaza have plenty-always come a distant second to its own prestige. If it doesn't feel like talking with Israel, then Gazans should just wait patiently until it does.

But this story also highlights just how irrelevant the PA's refusal to talk with Israel is making it. Hamas would prefer going through Egypt rather than the PA for many reasons, but one is the simple fact that Egypt can deliver the goods. Egyptian officials are still willing to talk with Israel; that's how they brokered the Israel-Hamas cease-fire in November, and why they can mediate between the parties now. In contrast, Abbas can't.

Once upon a time, he could and did. That's why, for instance, PA officials are still stationed at the Gaza-Israel border crossings: Unwilling to recognize Israel or talk with it directly, Hamas nevertheless needs to deal with Israel to run those crossings; PA officials were the mutually agreed-upon mediators. But that arrangement was hammered out at a time when the PA was still willing to talk with Israel. Now, it isn't.

In that sense, there's even a twisted logic to the PA's accusation that the "secret talks in Cairo" are why the latest Fatah-Hamas reconciliation effort failed. Clearly, neither side really wants to reconcile; that's why every such effort has failed for years. But for Hamas, Abbas's refusal to talk with Israel means the PA can no longer provide the one service Hamas actually needs from it. Meanwhile, Egypt has proven an effective substitute. Thus its incentive to make a deal, never high, has declined even further.

Ironically, Hamas recently taught Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan an identical lesson. When the Hamas-Israel conflict erupted in November, Erdogan lavished rhetorical support on Hamas, but having refused for years to talk with Israel, he was unable to do anything more constructive. It was Egypt that brokered the cease-fire Hamas needed, thereby receiving worldwide kudos for successful diplomacy. Erdogan was reduced to pathetically trying to share the credit by proclaiming that his spy chief, too, met an Israeli official in Cairo during the cease-fire talks-an effort that convinced nobody (except, perhaps, his hardcore supporters in Turkey).

So far, neither Erdogan nor Abbas has been willing to climb down from his tree. But Erdogan can afford it: As the leader of a Middle Eastern powerhouse and one of President Barack Obama's closest confidants, he has other venues in which to prove his relevance. Abbas, the leader of a perpetually bankrupt entity whose conflict with Israel is the world's sole reason for being interested in him, may discover that he doesn't have the same luxury.


Posted on Feb 21, 2013 6:42:28 PM PST
Sixties fan says:

Israeli Scientists Create `Stealthy Fiber Optic Communications'

Two Israeli university professors and a PhD candidate have created a concept for "stealthy fiber optic communications."

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By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 2/20/2013, 4:22 PM

Young cellphone user in Jerusalem

Flash 90

Two Israeli university professors and a PhD candidate have created a concept for "stealthy fiber optic communications."

Developed by Ben Gurion University of the Negev's Prof. Dan Sadot and Prof. Ze'ev Zalevsky of Bar Ilan University together with PhD student Tomer Yeminy, the new encryption method enables stealthy transmission of any optical communications signal.

Currently in the patenting process, the new encryption method spreads the transmission below the noise level in both time and frequency domains.

Because it uses sampling accompanied by temporal and spectral phase encryption, an eavesdropper trying to detect the transmitted signal catches only noise, since the signal is hidden below the noise level.

"It is analogous to many soft sounds of a lovely symphony scattered through a recording of background noise," said the researchers. "The authorized user who knows the spreading key is the only one able to detect and enjoy the symphony without the noisy background.

"It should be noted that analysis shows that it will take [an exponential number of] years for an eavesdropper to break the encryption key - which means that eavesdropping is very hard," they added.

"This method could also be useful in improving the immunity of the fiber optic communications system to jamming," the researchers pointed out.
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